Observatorio Mexicano de la Crisis
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  • Date submitted: 31 Oct 2011
  • Stakeholder type: Major Group
  • Name: Observatorio Mexicano de la Crisis
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INTERNATIONAL DIALOGUE ON OUR WAY TO RIO+20

A contribution from Mexico?s civil society


February 2011

Observatorio Mexicano de la Crisis A.C.

INTRODUCTION

Due to the importance of Green Economy in Rio 2012, and as part of the International Green Economy Dialogue the Observatorio Mexicano de la Crisis (Mexican Observatory of Crisis) hosted an event together with the Mexican Environmental Ministry on February 3rd 2011. Up to forty experts from academia, civil society, government and the private sector participated in this event.

This document includes the results of this debate in order to contribute both to a strategic vision on green economy and to the design that is coherent both from a developed and emerging economies perspective.

The present document covers three main aspects of a Green Economy Strategy: priorities of a Green Economy strategy for Mexico, production, consumption and trade and public policy.

PERTINENCE AND SCOPE OF A GREEN ECONOMY STRATEGY

There are important factors that need to be taken into consideration to promote a Green economy strategy, first the costs of business as usual need to be clearly stated both at the environmental and economic level. This means not just addressing each issue independently but also understanding interconnecting aspects and their impact.
The scope of the strategy also needs to define the extent of the reform process, but mostly it needs to be understood as a way to further a more comprehensive agenda, as the one set by sustainable development (equity, rational natural resource management and the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs) in which social aspects and pro-poor initiatives can be preserved and continued. In this sense, even when this is mainly an economic strategy, for its implementation it will be necessary to take into account other efforts made throughout the years, in different countries and by other international agencies inside the framework of sustainable development and the MDGs, i.e The Marrakech Process.
It is also important for the Rio Summit to be clearly understood as the beginning or continuation of an ongoing process that will require a set of environmental, political, policy, social, economic instruments to be designed, discussed and applied by each country. Therefore it is mandatory that the Summit is attended by Heads of State and/or Government, to state their commitment to these efforts.

THE CHALLENGES OF BUSINESS AS USUAL

Considering the case of Mexico it is clear that a different growth pattern will be helpful to face current environmental, social and economic challenges, such as:
Climatic impacts on land use, on biodiversity, irrational use of natural resources and water sanitation, waste management, and non-sustainable patterns of energy consumption.

Regarding social aspects like inequality, unemployment, underemployment and increasing violence. Economic issues including lack of competitiveness, low levels of taxation, lack of innovation, non-dynamic internal market. Even when, these challenges can be originated by different circumstances they end up being interconnected so they require comprehensive solutions that can work at the local, regional and national levels.

II. PROMOTING THE TRANSITION ? GOING BEYOND THE STATUS QUO
Currently, there are in Mexico policies which go against the promotion of an enviromentaly friendly economic growth, such as:

Policies and programmes for the agricultural sector that promote single-crop farming, migration and polarization among rural and urban areas. Therefore it is necessary to consider integrated policies that will help recover traditional forms of production and property that will restore both agricultural productivity and social structures and the quality of life in rural areas.

Increasing subsidies to urban areas promotes migration from rural communities, as well as centralization and concentration in big cities. It is necessary to recognize the real cost of living and services provided to cities, which can be reflected as an ecological foot print tax. MAKING CHANGE POSSIBLE ? THE ECONOMICS AND THE POLITICAL ECONOMY OF STRUCTURAL ADJUSTMENT

In terms of political economy, there will be many adjustments to be made in order to promote a new strategy. As there will be winners and losers in the short run it is necessary to establish the means of dialogue in which rules an agreements can be defined, negotiated and accepted by different players. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that some of these instruments can be included in the policy toolkit. In the case of Mexico, these are some of the areas in which it will be necessary to pay attention:

There are no public policy instruments to promote a Green economy oriented industrial sector.

It is also necessary to create incentives to further change in production, even to consider the substitution of the current production line to a circular process to reduce waste. Emphasis should be place on innovation, training and human resources development.

National green clusters can be promoted by using integrated public policy instruments that will foster innovation and strategic sectors. Diversified industries are needed, as well as programmes to attract small and middle size producers into new green sectors. This will help provide the green economy strategy with an instrument to promote equality at the social level.

As one of the main components of the strategy is to understand the way in which Green economy can work in favour of development, in the case of Mexico it will be useful to have Access to technology transfers that will help create value chains and clean industries without reproducing non sustainable international patterns of trade or macroeconomic disturbances.

Education is important in terms of promoting a new culture, which is not just respectful of the environment but also willing to shift consumption patterns and lifestyles. Consumers need to be aware of the environmental impact of their choices. In this sense, ?green purchases? from big buyers as the government, universities and retailers can be an important incentive.

A strong communication strategy needs to be implemented at each stage so governmental and private institutions can be able to inform the general public about the benefits of products, policies and decisions both in economic and environmental terms. Best practices catalogs and successful experiences can be used as a powerful instrument to communicate this message.

Any new strategy will need to be accompanied by strong transparency, accountability and social participation instruments, as well as other means to prevent corruption.

MEASURING PROGRESS

Any measure towards the implementation of a Green economy Strategy needs to the take into consideration the social dimension and effects of policies, both in terms of costs and benefits.

It will be important to advance on the design and inclusion of indicators to measure the environmental benefits of specific projects and initiatives.

Green taxation needs to be promoted with clear goals and objectives as part of the whole strategy, and must include follow-up and performance indicators.

DELIVERING ON GREEN ECONOMY

The design and implementation of a Green economy Strategy needs to take into account the need for mainstreaming development and in particular social concerns. Considering, previous experiences in which growth was not necessary a prerequisite for development, but a source of new problems by ignoring prevailing social inequalities. Hence, policy recommendations must integrate equality, inclusion, economic, environmental, social, development and innovation issues. Together with institutional arrangements for planning and definition of regulation instruments that will promote green economy in an integrated fashion, including different ministries and levels of government and stakeholders.

Nevertheless, as mentioned before, the Green Economy Strategy must not be considered as a replacement for sustainable development which still has much to offer for developed and developing countries alike.

Finally, all the participants in this exercise (experts and interested parties in the field) will like to thank the UN for the opportunity to contribute with their insights and will be looking forward to participating in future stages of Rio+20.

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